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Seoul Adamant about Scrapping GSOMIA with Japan

Write: 2019-11-08 15:04:58Update: 2019-11-08 15:09:24

Seoul Adamant about Scrapping GSOMIA with Japan

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: South Korea's top diplomat has made it clear that the government will not renew its military intelligence sharing agreement, known as GSOMIA, with Japan unless the island neighbor scraps its retaliatory trade measures. Washington says it will continue to seek ways to maintain the pact, which will expire on November 22. 
Kim Bum-soo has more. 

Report: Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha says the government has no plans to reverse its decision to let the GSOMIA expire later this month.

[Sound bite: Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Korean)]
(Rep. Ki Dong-min: Madam Foreign Minister, is GSOMIA going to expire ... as planned?) 
"There is no change in our position as of now. We will go ahead with our decision."
"As the GSOMIA decision was [the result of] much consideration following Japan’s unfair export curbs [against South Korea], there is no change in our basic stance that we may reconsider if Japan removes the export restrictions."

In response to Japan's retaliatory trade measures, Seoul in August announced that it will not extend the intelligence sharing accord.   

Speaking before the National Assembly’s special budget committee Friday, Kang also noted that the administration is well aware of the negative aspects of the decision. 

[Sound bite: Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (Korean)]
(Rep. Kim Seok-ki: What national interest would we attain from the termination of GSOMIA?)
"It was an unavoidable decision amid the conflict between South Korea and Japan. Of course we have taken into full consideration that it could burden our other diplomatic relations. However, the decision was made considering that there is clearly no longer a relationship of trust with Japan to share sensitive information."  

The remarks came as Washington puts sustained pressure on Seoul to renew the pact, which serves as a key platform of its trilateral security collaboration with South Korea and Japan.

While announcing U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's visit to Seoul next week, his public affairs official said the U.S. will continue to try to persuade South Korea.  

[Sound bite: Jonathan Rath Hoffman - Assistant to US Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs]
"I will say that on GSOMIA it’s been a topic that the secretary has raised with his counterparts from Japan and Korea, persistently as this issue has come up. We are hopeful, we’re optimistic, we’re going to continue to push on. I can practically guarantee that it will be part of our conversations when we’re in Korea next week."

The Pentagon said Esper is scheduled to attend the U.S.-South Korea Security Consultative Meeting, where he will meet with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and other senior South Korean officials. The meeting is set for next Friday and Saturday in Seoul.
Kim Bum-soo, KBS World Radio News.

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